Medicare Part B Costs

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Medicare Part B covers doctors’ services (in their offices, in hospitals or other facilities, or at your home), outpatient care such as lab tests and screenings, and some medical equipment and supplies. Note: The Part B costs described in the following sections apply if you’re enrolled in the traditional Medicare program.

Premiums

All people enrolled in Part B must pay a monthly premium to receive services. In late fall, the federal government announces the Part B premium amount for the following year. In 2013, the standard premium is $104.90 a month. Note that qualifying word: standard. If your income is over a certain level, you pay more.

Deductible and co-payments

In 2013, the annual Part B deductible is $147. The amount goes up a little each year and is announced at the same time as the Part B premium.

Typically, Medicare pays 80 percent and you pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost of Part B services. (However, because co-pays for outpatient mental health services — such as seeing a psychiatrist — are only now coming into line with other Part B co-pays, you pay 35 percent for these services in 2013, and 20 percent from 2014 onward.)

Note that you may be charged more than 20 percent if you go to a provider who doesn’t accept the Medicare-approved cost as full payment.

Out-of-pocket limits

In traditional Medicare, Part B has no upper limit on out-of-pocket expenses. But if you have Medigap supplemental insurance, it covers your Part B co-pays.

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